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VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis has eschewed tradition and chosen a silver Fisherman’s Ring rather than a gold one — and one designed decades ago rather than created specifically for him, the Vatican said yesterday.
The gold-plated silver ring, one of the papal symbols that the new pope will receive during the inauguration mass today, is modelled on a ring designed by Italian sculptor Enrico Manfrini, who died in 2004, for Paul VI.
“The ring is designed by Manfrini, who created several religious works and it was presented to the Pope by the master of ceremonies who had received the model from one of Paul VI’s secretaries,” said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.
Nicknamed “the popes’ sculptor”, Manfrini designed religious objects for several pontiffs, including Pius XII, Paul VI and John Paul II.
The simple ring, customarily worn on the pontiff’s right hand, depicts a bearded and haloed
St Peter holding a pair of keys — an emblem of the papacy which captures the moment Peter was given the keys to heaven.
It was chosen by Francis out of three ring models presented to him, Lombardi said.
“I don’t know if the ring was used by Paul VI. The design stems from that period but it is not physically the same ring. The original ring was melted down but this a ring based on the same design,” he added.
The Fisherman’s Ring originally served as both a symbol of the papacy and a seal, but these days the Pope has a separate seal with which to mark documents.